November 12, 2020

Urgent planning reforms in Scotland crucial to recovery and accelerated mobile network rollout

permitted development rights, planning, Scotland, Shared Rural Network, Mobile UK

Planning reforms proposed by the Scottish Government to update the permitted development rights system must be brought in quickly to aid the recovery, network deployment and the Shared Rural Network. Mobile UK is calling for follow-on legislation to proposals for permitted development reform be tabled as soon as possible, and not later than the first quarter of 2021.

Mobile UK welcomes many of the proposals by the Scottish Government to reform the planning system. The suggested reforms will have a genuine and material impact in helping operators to roll out mobile networks in Scotland. However, Mobile UK is very disappointed that a review of permitted development rights for new masts and their access tracks in protected areas could be pushed back yet again. This is out of line with Scotland’s wider strategy for bridging the digital divide and ensuring that ‘no-one is left behind’.

The Shard Rural Network programme (a £1 billion initiative to extend 4G mobile connectivity from all four operators to 74% of Scotland’s landmass, up from 42% today, and from at least one operator to 91%) is a once in a generation chance to overcome the particular challenges of bringing coverage to the remoter parts of Scotland. It urgently needs a planning regime to match.

Hamish MacLeod, Director at Mobile UK, said:

“While we welcome many of the proposal for reform, which will be a boost to network rollout and assist the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly urge the Scottish Government to bring forward its proposals for reforming planning rights for new masts and access tracks in designated areas and thus grab the chance to eliminate the digital divide in Scotland once and for all.”
Mobile UK's response to the Scottish Government's consultation on permitted development rights. Click Here.

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Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.

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Gareth Elliott
Head of Policy and Communications
Tel: 07887 911 076

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